The chief test pilot for Martin Aircraft Company tells us about the Martin Jetpack. Also, the major engine failure of Air France Flight 66, the Emirates A380 that descended below the glideslope on approach, dumping and subsidization claims against Bombardier, a Boeing 737 near miss, and the Airbus Laminar Flow Wing Demonstrator.
Prospero “Paco” Uybarreta is head of Aircrew & Testing, and the chief test pilot for Martin Aircraft Company Ltd. The Martin Jetpack is an optionally piloted hovering air vehicle currently being developed and tested in New Zealand.
Paco explains the recent interest in personal VTOL air vehicles and describes the use cases. He also tells us about how the Martin Jetpack is more of a small vehicle platform than a backpack-style jetpack. We look at how the regulatory agencies treat vehicles like this, safety considerations, and why the Jetpack operates in both manned and unmanned modes.
Paco has been an experimental test pilot for the U.S. Air Force, Bombardier Aerospace, and Scaled Composites. He is a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Test Pilot School and has over 4,400 total pilot hours in 44 different aircraft types with 1,000 instructor pilot hours, 600 flight test hours, and 460 combat hours.
He holds FAA ATPL, Transport Canada ATPL, FAA CFII, and CAA CPL and Cat 1 Test Pilot certificates, with multiple type ratings in Boeing, Bombardier, Beechcraft, and Mitsubishi jet aircraft, and an AV-L39C Experimental Authorization. Paco was the 2015 recipient of the prestigious Iven C. Kincheloe Award for outstanding flight test accomplishments with Bombardier Commercial Aircraft.
Paco has been signed off by the New Zealand CAA as a Category 1 test pilot for the Martin Jetpack, which means he is able to conduct manned flight tests of the Martin Jetpack now that it has been awarded experimental aircraft status. He is also approved to train a team of pilots to act as test pilots for the new prototype aircraft. To that end, Paco has designed a test pilot course based on CAA requirements. This includes six hours of academic learning and ten hours of Jetpack simulator training in techniques and maneuvers along with actual flight training.
Air France flight 66 flying from Paris to Los Angeles with 497 PAX experienced a major engine failure at 37,000 feet. The plane diverted to Goose Bay airport in Canada without incident. Photographs published by the passengers show the fan, fan case, and the forward portion of the nacelle missing from the Engine Alliance GP7200. See: Air France Press release: Information About Flight AF066 Paris Los Angeles on 30 September 2017 and Engine breaks up on Air France Airbus A380, forcing emergency landing in Canada.
Engine Alliance (EA) is a 50-50 joint venture between GE and Pratt & Whitney. The Fan Module is built by Pratt & Whitney and the Low Pressure Compressor (LPC) is built by Safran Aero Boosters.
The Emirates General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) is investigating an Emirates Airbus A380 that “descended below the glideslope on approach” to Moscow’s Domodedovo Airport. Emirates flight EK131 descended to 400 feet at 14.8 kilometers from the runway, aborted the approach, made a second unsuccessful attempt to land, then finally landed safely.
The U.S. Commerce Department is sympathetic to Boeing’s complaint that Bombardier is “dumping” CSeries passenger jets at below manufacturing cost. That was not unexpected. But what wasn’t expected is the preliminary decision to recommend a 220% tariff on Bombardier. See: US government recommends 220% import tariff on CSeries.
Brazil asked the World Trade Organization to investigate Canada’s alleged use of more than $3 billion in government subsidies. Brazil claims the loans, equity infusions, grants, and tax credits offered to Bombardier harmed Embraer.
A United Airlines Flight 246 flying from Vancouver to Chicago reportedly had to take evasive action to avoid colliding with a glider. The pilot had to execute a climb 400 feet and banked the Boeing 737 hard to the right.
BLADE is an acronym for Breakthrough Laminar Aircraft Demonstrator in Europe, an EU-sponsored Clean Sky aeronautical research program. BLADE looks to achieve a 50 percent reduction in wing friction and up to 5 percent lower CO2 emissions. The Airbus A340 named Flight Lab made its first test flight in France with two transonic laminar outer wings and a flight-test-instrumentation station in the cabin. Airbus news release: European laminar flow research takes a new step with Airbus’ BLADE Flight Lab.
Airline Story of the Week
At age 30, Anny Divya became the youngest woman captain of a Boeing 777. See also: Air India’s all-female crew makes history with round-the-world flight.
Listener Anurag created a Power BI dashboard from air crash data starting from 1908: Accidents and Fatalities Trends. He also posted the LinkedIn article Visualising a century of aircraft accidents with Power BI.
Listener Joe built a Vans RV-7A over a period of 4 ½ years and then this past summer flew it to all 48 contiguous states in the span of a two-week vacation. Nevada County couple builds plane and travels to each of the 48 contiguous states. See Joe’s 4-part series on his Rough and Ready Aerospace blog: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4.